My View from the Weeds: Herbalistes sans Frontières

This post was originally published in HWBCO's monthly column, My View from the Weeds, for the Columbus Free Press, January 2019 Issue

Herbalists Without Borders Central Ohio (HWBCO) is a chapter of the international organization, Herbalists Without Borders and has a lot of ambitions for 2020, and it all builds on what we have created in the last two years: In late 2018, we created the chapter and found our core volunteers. In 2019, we really started to shine- we started having regular clinic events and did outreach to gain more practitioners and volunteers. We hosted People’s Apothecary events (where people got herbal remedies and tonics on a donation basis), herb swaps (where people trade live plants, dried plants, and prepared medicines), medicine making events, and did plant walks, too. We did two months of sourcing donations and creating blessing bags for distribution (these are non-perishable items like socks, soap, diapers, toothbrushes, and menstrual supplies). We have had a regular monthly column in the Free Press and did some other media appearances as well. We have started to grow! In 2020, we want to make the clinics more regular, find more practitioners and locations to host clinics, start a medicinal community garden project, make distribution of herbal remedies and blessing bags a year-long project, teach more classes that allow everyone access to botanical medicine, and much more. We invite you to join us in making health care and food justice a reality in central Ohio. Our chapter is all volunteer and we can do so much more when there are more of us. We meet and host events the 4th Sunday of each month, 5-7 PM. Most meetings are at the offices of Lily Kunning, Community Herbalist in Clintonville, but sometimes they are elsewhere. You can check the website, for details each month, or join our email list for updates (also available on our website). Here are our planned events for the first quarter of 2020: January 12: Medicinal Mushroom class (a benefit for HWBCO). Learn all about the benefits of mushrooms and learn to grow them yourself! Attendees will leave with knowledge as well as a starter kit to start growing at home! Register on the HWBCO website. January 26: Seed Swap. Saving and trading seeds is a human right and should not be illegal (but is in many places thanks to efforts by Monsanto/Bayer). We host an annual swap of all seeds- edible, medicinal, landscaping. Please have you stashes clearly labelled as much as possible and whether the seeds are organic, non-GMO, heirloom, or commercial/unknown. Bring envelopes and markers to collect your new plant friends! February 23: All Hands On Deck! Annual planning/chapter meeting and potluck! We rally all interested in food and health care justice projects to come to our annual potluck. We outline our plans for the year, get volunteers for the projects and subcommittees, and plan our 2020! Meet other activists and healers like yourself! Please label food with all ingredients. March 24: Spring Plant Walk. What’s popping up and how is it used to promote wellness and healing? Join volunteers of HWB in the alleys and parks of Columbus to identify herbal medicine all around you. April 26: Day-long field trip to Athens/Meigs county. Join the students of Lily Kunning Community Herbalist and the HWBCO chapter for a delightful botanical field trip! Our stops include United Plant Savers Sanctuary, Companion Plants, and more! Beyond the first few months of 2020, we have plans to start a community medicinal garden, host herb swaps, do Fire Cider demonstrations, and source/create more blessing bags. We also want to host and train street medics (with an herbal emphasis), send our clinic volunteers o Reeds and Roots Earth Skillshare in August (to staff their medic station), and much more. The chapter work is exciting and uplifting and we want you to join us. Ways to help ... Serve as a clinic practitioner: Help us serve the uninsured and underinsured with the People’s Medicine- herbalism. All holistic modalities are welcome to practice at our People’s Clinic, and we have had massage therapists, acupuncturists, energy and body workers, MDs, and herbalists treating folks side-by-side. Chapter Volunteers are needed for myriad tasks (and you do not have to be an herbalist to join!). Can you post on social media? Hang up flyers? Talk to other community groups about collaboration? Make people feel welcome and heard while waiting at the clinic? Garden? Write grants? Organize and plan events? Teach a class? Can’t volunteer at the moment but still want to help? We need cash donations to source materials for our clinics and apothecary events; in-kind donations for the apothecary and blessing bag donations, too.

The best way to volunteer or donate is to come to a chapter meeting/event. The second best way is to contact us through our website. Join us! Lily Kunning is Columbus’ community herbalist who not only serves in the HWB chapter, but treats clients one-on-one, creates custom formulations, and teaches myriad classes on herbalism, sex ed, and more. Her website is

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